David Booth hasn’t exactly gotten off to the most roaring start with his new team since he was traded to the west coast on October 22nd. Booth started the year in Florida notching 1 assist in 7 games, while playing on the third line. Not great numbers, but those were expected to change in Vancouver where he would get a chance to play with better players in a more prominent role.
Booth has 2 goals and 5 assists in his first 12 games with the Canucks. Those numbers are average, but when we dig a little bit deeper, they’re less impressive. One of his goals was into an empty net. Of his 5 assists, three of them were of the phantom variety (ie. second assists where he had very little to do with the scoring play).
What’s worse with Booth is that he doesn’t appear to be much of a physical presence, despite his size (6’0″, 212 lbs). He also doesn’t appear to see the ice well. For the moment, Booth is back on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, but I think that’s more out of hope than merit. The ‘American Express’ line has a great nickname, but they haven’t shown a lot of promise together.
Booth is still early into his tenure with the Canucks, so there is a lot of time for him to gel with his teammates and improve his play, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. If Booth, along with Keith Ballard, don’t improve considerably Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon will come off looking like a genius. In just over one calendar year, Tallon has offloaded two overpaid hockey players, as judged by their play this year and last. Both players have three years remaining on their contract, at over $4 million each.
It’s still early and Booth has a chance to turn it around, but I’m starting to lose hope that he’ll become the perfect fit on the Canucks second line. For the moment he appears destined to be a bigger version of Mason Raymond. I hope I’m wrong.